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Download: OPC Enabled Real-Time Access to Remote Field Data

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) produces 43% of Nigeria’s oil and is the pioneer and leader of Nigeria’s petroleum industry. Operating in the Niger Delta and adjoining shallow offshore areas, Shell has over 3,000 kilometers of pipelines, 87 flowstations, 8 gas plants and more than 1,000 wells.

The Challenge
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) monitors and controls its upstream production process from over 1,000 wells via DCS’s, Fisher ROC RTUs, and Modbus based PLCs. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) collects field data in a central location by linking to their DCS’s, RTUs and PLCs via satellite and radio.

Initially, a UNIX-based system facilitated the RTU and PLC data collection process by using various custom interfaces to communicate with the remote RTUs and PLCs.

This legacy system soon outlived its usefulness. Limitations included difficulty in producing reports, a restricted number of concurrent users and bugs in the software. As well, the system did not use a standards-based communication infrastructure, so the number and type of applications available to access, report on, and trend the process data were limited. Besides, the system was not user friendly and very difficult to maintain and configure. It also did not allow for remote device configuration.

For SPDC to continue using their UNIX system, they would require custom interfaces. SPDC then demanded a more robust infrastructure that would give them the required scalability and flexibility to improve their process management

Custom interface development was expensive and time consuming, not to mention that SPDC would then be “locked” into their existing vendor, thereby constraining their business process.

OPC: Standards-Based Platform for Growth
SPDC had two options. One was to keep their existing infrastructure and develop the custom applications they needed. The second was to replace their legacy system altogether. SPDC decided on the second option because everything they needed was available as commercial-off-the-shelf software.

"The MatrikonOPC standard- based connectivity solution created a truly scalable system"

The communication technology they selected was OPC. OPC is a published communication standard that enables many vendors to interface with each other; consequently, it provided Shell with a flexible and scalable platform for growth and a best of breed solution.

SPDC replaced their proprietary UNIX-based system with a standards-based Windows and OPC-based system. They installed the OPC Server for ROC to interface with the RTUs, and the OPC Server for Modbus to interface with their PLCs. The new Windows system collected the field data via OPC, and stored the data in a local Process Historian from OSIsoft. Since OSIsoft PI was already enabled with OPC, interfacing with the MatrikonOPC software was seamless. This enabled Shell to use PI ProcessBook for reporting, trending and visualization from all their wells.

SPDC’s Process Control Engineer Kikelomo Afolabi said, “MatrikonOPC proved to be a cost effective, easy to integrate and robust solution providing true interoperability that aligned well with Shell’s need for scalability.”

Value from MatrikonOPC
Access to SPDC’s RTUs and PLCs historically was very limited. Effective data access, monitoring, and analysis now enables SPDC to generate accurate reports faster and more readily than before. The MatrikonOPC standards-based connectivity solution created a truly scalable system.

About Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria discovered the first commercial oil field in the country at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State, in 1956 and through a sustained exploration effort had since discovered more oil fields that have firmly established Nigeria as one of the world's major crude oil producers with significant gas potential. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria produces some 900,000 to 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day and employs some 5,000 people directly. For more information, visit

About MatrikonOPC
MatrikonOPC is the world’s largest OPC company. MatrikonOPC is a charter member of the OPC Foundation. With a collection of more than 500 OPC products and interfaces and over 100,000 installations worldwide, MatrikonOPC is the world's largest developer, trainer and distributor of OPC products. For more information, visit


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